I’m not a fan of negative posts but the world needs to know about Cuba Libre. Firstly, I did not go of my own volition. I was dragged, screaming on the inside, to a terrible attempt at a cuban bar. It was a failure on many fronts. First of all the irony of the whole situation is that not a single Cuban worked at Cuba Libre,but every surrounding shop and restaurant was run by Cuban people.
Now to the dishes. Since it was a private event we had the whole, blaring 80′s rock, pitch black place to ourselves. I don’t think it would have mattered though because no one in their right mind would eat there intentionally. The first dishes I was treated to were finger foods. They had spiceless, crunchy chicken empanadas and ham and cheese croquettes on a stick. Both of these were terribly bland and overcooked. To disguise this they provided a “Special Cuban Dipping Sauce” that the rest of the world calls Heinz 57. However, since I was quite hungry I decided I would press onward and try the buffet line. That was a decision I would soon live to regret. Going through the line they served a flavorless paella, weeds ( salad) with caesar dressing, and Pork( which they insisted was pork, but tasted for all the world like an uninspired Thanksgiving turkey). The Paella was flavorless and filled with chunks of things including a 2×2 in. sweet plantain, rubber shrimp, poorly done mussels, and chicken. After I choked that down I decided that I might have more luck with the turkey…er pork…er whatever. I didn’t. It was slimy and gross, but at least the salad was…not wilted.
At about this time I had given up on dinner but, one of the overbearing servers, who had demanded I take something from his tray 5 times in the last 15 minutes, insisted I try their smoked salmon. Before the salmon, I was going to forgo reviewing the place and let bygones be bygones, but an act so heinous just could not be ignored. I am a fan of the entire salmon genre. Salmon served poached, in maki, nigiri, sashimi, pan seared, baked, salted, smoked, and every preparation in between is generally great, but this salmon was a crime against humanity. Served wrapped around asparagus, which I also like, it was possibly the worst, overly salty, rancid thing I have ever consumed in my life including expired soy milk and bad deli meats. In hopes of rescuing the night and rinsing my mouth out, I rushed to the bar and ordered a frozen margarita. The bartender promptly told me that they had elected not to make any frozen drinks tonight. I went to the buffet, drank a small amount of dressing and left. I’m never going back. Not for love or money. My co-workers, far easier to please than myself, hated it too.